As coronavirus spreads to six states in Nigeria, with fear that the infection could get worse, highly-placed health workers have said that the nation does not have up to 500 ventilators across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Findings have shown that hospitals may experience difficulties in handling seriously ill COVID-19 patients due to the lack of enough ventilators for patients’ use.

Lagos State, despite being the epicentre of the contagion with 28 confirmed COVID-19 cases out of the total national cases of 40, does not have enough ventilators to manage coronavirus patients who may present with breathing problems.

A ventilator is a machine designed to provide mechanical ventilation by moving breathable air in and out of the lungs, to deliver breaths to a patient who is physically unable to breathe, or breathing insufficiently.

It is attached to a tube inserted in the patient’s airway so it can deliver air into the lungs.

According to experts, COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, targets the lungs and can cause complications such as pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Severe cases will require a ventilator to be able to deliver enough oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, experts say.

President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. Francis Faduyile, explained that the appliance for artificial respiration is necessary when treating severely ill patients; however, he quickly added that he did not know how many ventilators are available nationally.

A number of reporters went round some hospitals in Lagos State, and findings revealed that while some of them did not have ventilators at all, those who have do not have enough to take care of emergency situations such as posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other Corona Isolation centers in different states have also been reported to have a very limited number of ventilators at their disposal for use.